on his CDs which are being reissued...
(Order of Magnitude and Labyrinth)
Order of Magnitude was recorded at Network Studios in Rancho Bernardo,
California (near San Diego). I met producer John Archer through mutual friends and
he got me signed to American Gramaphone. John was a member of the duo Checkfield, and a
Grammy-nominated producer. I used John's Goodall Jumbo guitar for the project, with the
exception of Rites of Passage (my Mark Angus cutaway), and Cotton Candy (my old reliable Takamine!)
The players on the ensemble tunes were all top-notch, and percussionist Mike Spiro's
warmth always made him a joy to be around. Probably the most thrilling moment for me came
when a large string ensemble was brought in to play on two tracks, Keepsake and Erin's
I'm not exactly sure what techniques and equipment John used for the recording, but his
expertise is evident, especially on the solo tunes! By the way, Rites of Passage is an arrangement of the Irish fiddle tune Kid on the Mountain. A couple of
humorous notes about titles......Serenade (the flute and guitar duet) was
originally called "Serenade to a Whippet", after one of my dogs. And Mrs. B.
was originally "Mrs. Beasley". A friend of mine named it after a character
from the old TV show "Family Affair".
By the time it came to record Labyrinth, we had all re-located to
different parts of the country. We wanted to use many of the same players, so we ended up
recording in Portland, OR (my home); Omaha, Nebraska (John's and American Gramaphone's
home); San Diego and the Bay area. I had my own Goodall now!
The CD starts with Sunday Sonata, which so far appears on three CDs in three
different forms. This was also fun for me because in addition to guitar, I also played
bass, which I had done for years in rock bands. I wanted to contrast the first track of
this CD with the first track of Order of Magnitude, so I started off with
the one tune that everybody plays on. (On "Order...", the first tune is Renewal,
a solo piece. )
Both Shadowcasting and Blueskies Mt. Hood were popular on New Age
radio stations at the time. Speaking of Shadowcasting, I have the guitar's low
E-string tuned down to C for that, and I'm playing the eighth-note bass riffs along with
the synth, so it can also be played as a solo tune. When the Walls Fell is kind
of a tribute to my favorite band, Jethro Tull. In the middle of the tune when the band
stops abruptly and the acoustic guitar solos, I imagined Ian Anderson's flute doing the
same thing, ala "My God" (from Aqualung).
The reason I gave the name to the tune Labyrinth is because of all the twists
and turns the melody makes....kind of like a maze. The melody also reminded me of a
childhood game I had of the same name, where you guided a marble through a maze. That's
probably the most descriptive title I have!
Lastly, Evening Prayer. I wrote that after I saw a documentary about the
Amish. I had these simple melodies rolling around in my head, and put one on the guitar.
It's one of the few tunes I wrote in one sitting (along with Shadowcasting, and
August 23rd from Alone At Last.) John Archer wrote the haunting choral
part and enlisted the help of the incredible Higher Praise Gospel Singers.
All in all, these CDs would have to be called a collaboration between myself and John
Archer. I wrote the tunes, and he made them sound good! I hope you enjoy them too!